You may have found yourself in a conversation recently asking "Can you repeat that please?" Wearing a mask adds another layer and muffles sound. Regardless of the medium, if someone's diction isn't clear, they are doing the mumble jumble. But there's hope! Regardless of where you were born, or what was your first language, anyone's diction can be improved.
We've been watching the terrific Netflix series Hap and Leonard
, which takes place in Texas. It's embarrassing, but at times we have to turn on English subtitles to understand the dialogue, even though David grew up in Oklahoma! It isn't as bad as series filmed in Great Britain, like Bodyguard
or The Afterlife
, but it's annoying to keep asking each other what was just said, especially when the dialogue includes local slang. And although we appreciate that the actors are striving for realism-- when they mumble, they sacrifice clarity.
Many of you are doing virtual sessions, including finals presentations. Especially when the recipients' audio is poor, make sure you enunciate clearly and don't race through your content. David acted in Oregon Shakespeare's outdoor theatre to over a thousand people each night. Precise diction was essential.
The same applies whenever or wherever you speak. Logic is carried on your consonants; emotion on your vowels. Sloppiness with either can lose your audience. Case in point. Erin Byrne auditioned for America's Got Talent
by singing with her mouth closed. It was eccentric and funny, but she got four buzzers and went home.